After the killing of Jordan Neely, New York City Mayor Eric Adams faces backlash over his approaches to subway safety and mental illness

Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric Adams.AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey
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  • NYC Mayor Eric Adams is being blasted by progressives over his response to Jordan Neely's killing.

  • Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, died after he was placed in a chokehold by a fellow NYC subway passenger.

  • Adams faces criticism over his push to sweep homeless encampments and remove unhoused citizens from the subway.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is facing renewed criticism from progressive Democrats over his policies regarding public safety and mental illness after Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, was choked to death on the subway last Monday.

Adams, a former police officer and former state lawmaker who ran on a tough-on-crime platform during his successful 2021 mayoral bid, came into office seeking to overhaul the city's approach to homelessness and public safety. Last year, he laid out a plan to remove homeless individuals from the subway and directed law enforcement and emergency medical workers to involuntarily hospitalize individuals deemed to be in "psychiatric crisis."

Such measures were applauded by many who felt that the status quo in approaching quality-of-life issues in New York City wasn't working, but some felt the steps — which included sweeps of homeless encampments — went too far and infringed on the rights of homeless individuals who were distrustful of staying in the city's shelters and had no other recourse for housing.

Neely's death has now placed an even brighter spotlight on Adams' policies regarding homelessness, which the mayor defended during a press conference last Thursday.

"This is what highlights what I've been saying throughout my administration," he said of the Neely incident. "People who are dealing with mental health illness should get the help they need and not live on the train. And I'm going to continue to push on that."

But progressives hit back at Adams over his response to Neely's killing as well as his approach to public safety and mental health, with New York City Council member Tiffany Cabán speaking out against the mayor this past week.

"This is the inevitable outcome of the dangerous rhetoric of stigmatizing mental health issues, stigmatizing poverty, and the continued bloated investment in the carceral system at the expense of funding access to housing, food, and health," she told Politico.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York last Wednesday rebuked Adams' initial response to Neely's killing, where the mayor in a statement said that "any loss of life is tragic" while also remarking that "there's a lot we don't know about what happened here, so I'm going to refrain from commenting further."

"This honestly feels like a new low: not being able to clearly condemn a public murder because the victim was of a social status some would deem 'too low' to care about," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last week.

Ocasio-Cortez, who in the past has been highly critical of Adams' policing strategies, then argued that his administration was "trying to cut the very services that could have helped" Neely.

Adams, during an appearance on "CNN Primetime" last Wednesday, hit back at Ocasio-Cortez's statement that Neely was "murdered," telling host Abby Phillip that it was not "very responsible" for the congresswoman to make such a remark about an ongoing investigation.

Neely last Monday was onboard an F train in Manhattan and reportedly had been behaving erratically when he was put into a chokehold by Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old passenger. Penny kept Neely in the chokehold position for roughly 15 minutes.

The chief medical examiner's office last Wednesday said that the cause of Neely's death was compression of the neck and ruled his death as a homicide. No arrests have been made following the killing.

Penny's attorneys last Friday released a statement remarking that their client "never intended to harm" Neely.

Meanwhile, protestors are demanding that Penny face charges in Neely's death.

Read the original article on Business Insider